Dealing with your priority debts

Magistrates' court fines

See our fact sheet:

Magistrates' court fines.

The magistrates' court may order you to pay a fine, for example, for a driving offence, for not having a TV licence or for some other offence. You must treat a magistrates' court fine as a priority debt. The court has a range of further types of action it can take including using bailiffs and taking money from your wages or your benefits. Also, you could be sent to prison if you do not pay.

If you have been taken to court and are not sure which type of court it is, or whether it is a priority debt, contact us for advice.

Extra advice:

what type of court?

If you have been taken to court for a non-priority debt such as a loan or credit card, this would be in the county court and you cannot be sent to prison.

Dealing with your non-priority debts

Extra advice:

golden rules

  • If you have a magistrates' court hearing or have arrears from failing to pay fines, contact us for advice.
  • Always go to court hearings.
  • Take your personal budget with you.
  • Try to make arrangements that you can afford to pay or contact the court if you cannot pay.
  • Keep paying what you can afford.